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I China launches X-ray Pulsar NAVigation satellite

  1. Nov 10, 2016 #1
    China launched five small satellites Thursday, including the X-ray Pulsar Navigation satellite that eventually could help spacecraft headed for deep space navigate, the latest piece of China’s ambitious space program, NASA Spaceflight.com reported.

    The X-ray pulsar, developed by Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. Fifth Academy, was sent into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center aboard a Long March-11 solid fuel rocket, which also carried the Xaiaoxiang-1 and three Lishui-1 satellites.

    The X-ray pulsar captures X-ray signals emitted from pulsars. By mapping those signals, they can be used to determine spacecraft location in deep space, which will eliminate the hours-long delays incurred in using ground-based navigation like the Deep Space Network and European Space Tracking network. Some pulsars emit radiation with the precision of an atomic clock.

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 11, 2016 #2
    Cool concept for navigation, I see NASA is developing X-ray band communication for deep space also.

    "Two proven technologies have been combined to create a promising new technology that could meet future navigational challenges in deep space. It also may help demonstrate - for the first time - X-ray communications in space, a capability that would allow the transmission of gigabits per second throughout the solar system."
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